Metro and Seattle DOT team up to ease Route 8 traffic choke points

Route 8 riders can look forward to more-reliable service starting in 2017.

That’s when Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation are scheduled to begin work on a number of traffic and parking revisions from Lower Queen Anne to Capitol Hill that will help keep Route 8 on schedule.

Plans include more green time for traffic signals at Denny Way and Fifth and Sixth avenues, and left-turn restrictions at several intersections to avoid traffic tie-ups that slow everyone down.

The most significant change will convert the center westbound lane of Denny Way between Stewart Street and Fairview Avenue into an eastbound bus-only lane. This measure alone will cut Route 8 travel time by about 60 seconds, with minimal impact on traffic according to our traffic studies.route8_map_blog

On Capitol Hill, on-street parking will be restricted on short sections of Denny Way, Olive Way, East John Street, and East Thomas Street. Also in the works are two expanded bus stops on Olive Way and East John Street so buses don’t have to leave and re-enter heavy traffic, and to provide more space and amenities for waiting passengers.

Many of these improvements will help traffic flow a little more smoothly for everyone, a win-win for both transit riders and motorists.

Metro received grants from the Federal Transit Administration to fund the improvements. The funds will cover SDOT’s costs to design and make the improvements, and also Metro’s costs to add new shelters, benches, and better lighting at bus stops from Denny Way and Second Avenue to 15th Avenue East on Capitol Hill.

To reduce construction impacts, Metro and Seattle are working to coordinate improvements with nearby projects such as the Denny Way Substation Project at Fairview Avenue.

Route 8 serves an estimated 10,000 riders a day, connecting people in Lower Queen Anne, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, Madison Valley, Judkins Park, and Mount Baker to the Capitol Hill and in Mount Baker Link light rail stations as well as major employment hubs like South Lake Union.

Though reliability increased when Route 8 was divided into two separate routes in March 2016, late buses are still a problem, especially during rush hour and major events at the Seattle Center.

The project improvements will be made in phases during 2017 and 2018.

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